Wireless Business Solutions (WBS), the company that owns iBurst, has finally set out its plans to build a national LTE-Advanced wireless broadband network following the acquisition of the business by a company backed by former top bankers Paul Harris and Michael Jordaan.
WBS, which was acquired by Multisource in 2015, will invest billions of rand in the new data network, Harris said in a statement on Monday.
The network will use WBS’s existing spectrum assignments in the 1,8GHz and 2,6GHz bands. “It will be enabled to use 5G when the technology is rolled out internationally inside the next five years and will place South Africa among the leaders in the field,” the company said in the statement.
It said a “limited number” of LTE-A sites are already in operation and existing iBurst customers will be converted to the new network, with national roll-out commencing in the next few months.
“The network will provide superfast broadband to consumers and businesses alike. It will be superior to copper/ADSL offerings and an attractive alternative to fibre to the home,” the company said.
“Speed and performance will be comparable to fibre with the advantages that it can be deployed without the cost of digging up suburban streets and time delay in eventually reaching all residential areas,” it added.
It said it has the advantage of not having to invest in legacy networks such as 2G and 3G and will jump straight to 4.5G technology. The new network will be deployed on some of WBS’s own 400 high sites as well as sites leased from tower companies and other telecommunications providers.
Multisource’s shareholders and directors include former MTN chief technology officer Phumlani Moholi, former Leaf Wireless boss Brandon Leigh, Design Indaba founding CEO Ravi Naidoo and Multisource CEO Duncan Simpson-Craib, along with Harris and Jordaan. The company has 30% black shareholding, which will be maintained after a planned capital raising.
In the statement, Harris said South Africa needs investment in productive capacity in order to tackle its economic challenges. “Nothing can be gained by sitting on the sidelines. WBS’s investment is a manifestation of its confidence in South Africa and its desire to contribute.” — © 2016 NewsCentral Media